[AMRadio] Broadcast stuff

Paul Christensen w9ac at arrl.net
Fri Mar 19 21:59:46 EDT 2010

>I looked it up, less then 2000 people work for the FCC.
> The number has been going down for a while.Most seem to deal with legal 
> issues...

A sprinkling of good news may be on the horizon:  Two Congressional bills 
are being introduced, each termed the "FCC Commissioners' Technical Resource 
Enhancement Act."  If one of the bills is passed, the Act will allow each 
Commissioner the opportunity to appoint an electrical engineer or computer 
scientist to liaise between the Commission leadership and OET.

This is just the beginning of something long overdue at the Commission: the 
re-appointment of real engineers to facilitate engineering matters rather 
than a cadre of attorneys who generally choose easily-attained baccalaureate 
degrees in political science rather than pursue tough degrees in engineering 
and/or the sciences.   I am an attorney, electrical engineer, and computer 
science major, so my biases against my primary profession are justified.

> My company has stopped the fios builds and will likely switch to wireless.
> You can get something like 340Mbps over wireless now.
> That is a lot of bandwidth, with almost no infrastructure, no cables on
> poles, no fiber, no high power broadcasting.

The inevitable will slowly occur over time.  The current broadband wire-line 
models are no longer cost-efficient to deploy and it makes little sense to 
simultaneously distribute 500+ digitally encoded video signals to each 
household when any household likely will not be watching more than a couple 
programs at any given moment.  Narrow-casted wireless on micro-networks will 
eventually rule the content and communications world.

The Achilles heel in the world of today's AM/FM/TV broadcasting environment 
is the lack of an interactive back-channel from the consumer to the 
station -- except through alternate media like the web -- and that just 
drives people away from the core broadcasting medium.  Broadcasting needs 
its own interactive service and that will come when all the high-power RF is 
shut down and content streams through robust wireless networks.  Content 
delivery has always been, and will continue to be "king," only the delivery 
method will change.

I rarely have a liberalism moment, but this is an area where I strongly 
believe the federal government could/should step up to the plate and 
subsidize the entire cost a national broadband plan -- to an even greater 
extent than recently announced by the FCC earlier this week.  Looking at the 
big picture, deployment and maintenance of  a national wide-bandwidth 
wireless network is inexpensive to the government when you compare that cost 
against pre-existing retirement entitlements for the nation's largest 
employer, national health care benefits, and the national defense budget. 
Turn it over to private enterprise, let it compete against the existing 
wire-line services, and let the laws of "survival of the fittest" take over.

Paul, W9AC


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